Spawning induction and early development of the Caribbean scallops Argopecten nucleus and Nodipecten nodosus
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Abstract : Argopecten nucleus and Nodipecten nodosus are two commercially valuable bivalve species from the Caribbean region, and are interesting candidates for mass culture in the sea based on laboratory production of juvenile “spat” organisms. An experiment of artificial spawning was performed with the two species as the initial part of a study on the feasibility of producing their spat. Stimulation of spawning was carried out, determining the percentages of individuals spawning, response time, numbers of gametes produced, and fertilization of the oocytes. Five external stimuli and eight combinations of those were tested: slow changes in temperature (ST), fast changes in temperature (FT), desiccation (D), high concentrations of microalgae (M), exposure to water currents (C), ST + D, ST + M, ST + C, FT + D, FT + M, FT + C, D + M and D + C. Four internal stimuli were applied, including intragonadal injection of serotonin (Se), dopamine (Da), Da + prostaglandin E2 (Da + PE2) and Se + PE2. The results showed that A. nucleus spawned in response to all 17 stimuli tested, while N. nodosus responded to only eight of these (47%), suggesting that spawning in the first species was more sensitive to both external and internal stimuli. Larger percentages of individuals of A. nucleus spawned, with specially high values (100%) obtained with the ST + M, ST + D and Da stimuli; in N. nodosus, the Da stimulus was the most effective. N. nodosus gave shorter response times to stimuli than A. nucleus, with the shortest times in both scallop species (16 to 32 min) obtained using the internal stimuli. The production of gametes was similar between the two species, with about 5 × 109 spermatozoa, and 1.9 × 106 oocytes released per individual. A. nucleus produced higher numbers of spermatozoa using the ST + M stimulus, and higher numbers of oocytes using the FT + M, ST + D and Se stimuli; these values did not differ among treatments in N. nodosus. Abnormal spawning was observed in some of the internal stimuli tested, including release of immature gametes, simultaneous release of both male and female gametes, or sole production of male gametes. Fertilization was about 63% for both species, and was not influenced by the type of stimulation used to obtain the gametes. In summary, the most efficient stimuli for inducing the normal spawning of viable gametes in A. nucleus were ST + M and ST + D, and Se + PE2 in N. nodosus. Early embryonic and larval development in A. nucleus were significantly more rapid than in N. nodosus, while the sizes of early embryos and larvae were similar in both species, and comparable to previous descriptions of scallops' early development.